A book describes the connections between the organisation of production and jazz


Every production organisation needs strict rules in order to function well. But each good business must also be able to break the rules in order to function even better. Which means, in other words, being creative and not only able to calculate, to see beyond what has been planned. It means improvising and not just planning. That is why business culture is not something that can be defined in a definitive manner. And it is for this reason that a well-rounded culture is good for good business management. This includes music, as described by Erika Leonardi in her recently published “Impresa & jazz. Il lavoro di gruppo a tempo di swing” (Business & Jazz. Group work to a swing rhythm).

The starting point for Leonardi’s reasoning (which started from her scientific training, as a biologist and ethologist, and led to dealing with company organisation) is that it is necessary to have rules, but it is also necessary to break them in a responsible manner. According to Leonardi, a paradox in appearance only for overcoming the eternal challenge: working peacefully, all together. The source of inspiration for applying this type of method is as unusual as the method itself: jazz. According to the book’s author, it has extraordinary similarities with the organisation of a company: rules and flexibility, team spirit and individual responsibility are the components of day-to-day business that, just like a jazz band, alternates between the group and the individual, rules and chaos, skills and innovation.

In order to interpret and recount this view of company management, Leonardi starts therefore from the more “serious” part, that is the work of the company, taking into consideration the organisation of production, the relationships between the inside and outside of the company and the organisational and production rules. Then, in the second part, the book addresses the connections between business activities and jazz. The author therefore considers important aspects of playing jazz, such as the multiple roles, the balance between rights and duties, the ability to listen and communicate and being able to govern the sense of time.

The result of Erika Leonardi’s reasoning regarding the connections between business management and jazz may initially appear to be a bit unorthodox and in a certain sense at the limits of good company management, but it is actually well founded and quite fascinating. And it certainly should be taken into great consideration. The author concludes the approximately 140 pages of the book as follows: “Jazz reminds you that you must make things work together with others. It is difficult, but it can be done. When a group of people try to invent something together, conflicts can easily arise. Jazz expresses the importance of expressing the essence of your feelings and of being open to sharing a project with others.” A true spirit of enterprise, as it happens.


Impresa & jazz. Il lavoro di gruppo a tempo di swing

Erika Leonardi

Guerini Next, 2019